Private landlords willing to make their properties available for social housing are being sought under a joint rental recruitment drive by the four Dublin local authorities.
Landlords will be offered guaranteed rents of up to 92 per cent of market value, with an option to deal directly with the council and not the tenant, in an attempt to encourage them to rent to low-income households.
The number of landlords willing to rent to social housing tenants has plummeted in recent years with the increase in rents in Dublin making higher-income tenants more attractive to property owners.
In Dublin city alone, 381 landlords have pulled out of long-term rental arrangements with the council in the last five years. Last year, for the first time, the number of units lost from the rental accommodation scheme exceeded the number of landlords accepting city council tenants, with 105 properties lost compared to 76 gained.
The city council, along with South Dublin County Council, Fingaland Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown are offering three schemes to appeal to landlords to take social housing tenants.
The rental accommodation scheme (RAS) requires landlords to sign up with the council for a minimum of four years, although they can choose to sign up for 20 years. The council allocates the tenants, collects the rent and guarantees no arrears or loss of income to the landlord if the property is vacant for any period of time. The council will pay up to 92 per cent of market value and agrees to a rent review every two years. The landlord remains responsible for maintenance and must sign up with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).
For landlords interested in a longer term commitment, the local authorities are offering a leasing arrangement. Under this scheme, the landlord’s relationship is exclusively with the council, he or she is under no obligation to the tenant in terms of maintenance and does not have to sign up to the PRTB. The rental period is 10-20 years and the rent is lower than under RAS, typically 80-85 per cent of market rents. Again the rent is guaranteed for the contract period, and can be reviewed every five years.
The final scheme is the housing assistance payment (HAP). This is the most “hands off” scheme in terms of local authority involvement. The landlord is still paid directly by the council but can select the eligible tenants and agree their rent. The contract is between the landlord and the tenant and is generally for one year, and responsibility for maintenance lies with the landlord.
City council head of housing Dick Brady said the schemes offered the security to landlords of a guaranteed rent.
“There are schemes available for professional landlords who want to maximise income and also for those property owners wishing to be less directly involved with the letting. In all cases, we are offering guaranteed income.”